Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Questions about eggs from young hens

sizes"I have 13 comets. Love them for the ease of required care to production. I am wondering if these birds would rather lay eggs on the ground then roost in nesting boxes to lay them? I can't seem to get them to roost in the boxes but find the eggs on the floor every a.m. Also, the egg sizes seem small, they are young and just starting to lay. Do these birds need any special feed for larger size egg production?"
--- Steve A.

Steve's questions are common among owners of pullets, no matter what the breed, so I thought I'd post my answer here.  The size issue is the easiest --- young hens naturally lay small eggs at first, which gradually grow to full size over the next month or so.  These first eggs are also more likely to be irregularly shaped or double-yolked compared to eggs from more mature hens.

Your period of getting irregular pullet eggs won't last that long.  We're currently swimming in pullet eggs, but the first hens who began to lay about six weeks ago are now starting to churn out larger eggs.  So you shouldn't worry --- there's no need to do anything except wait for those big eggs to appear.  (However, I should add that when pullets start laying, you should change them over to layer feed so they consume enough calcium to keep those egg shells strong.)

Golf ball nest
eggGetting hens to lay in their nest boxes is something we struggle with occasionally as well since we've yet to build really good egg accommodations.  One solution is to add a golf ball or two to the place where you want your hens to lay, but I've also had good luck just hunting down any early eggs first thing in the morning and putting them in the preferred nest site.  Chickens are flock creatures even when it comes to laying, so if it looks like a lot of other hens are laying in the nest boxes, your trouble makers will follow suit.  After a week or two, most well-behaved hens toe the line and start laying just where you want them to.

Eggs are 74% water, so you may see an increase in thirst from your new pullets.  Be sure to provide plenty of clean water!

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